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Police Busts INR 60 Lakh Fake Ecommerce Website Racket

The accused, Ravi Arora and Dinesh Sharma, were arrested by the Delhi Police after raids were conducted in Himachal Pradesh and Delhi

Bank accounts used to park proceeds of crime were frozen, while 13 mobile phones, three laptops, and 10 debit cards were seized during the bust

Items were listed on the fake websites at cheaper prices, but were not delivered to the customers once the payment was made

The Delhi Police has reportedly busted a pan-India racket that duped users of INR 60 Lakh through fake ecommerce websites. 

According to IANS, the racket was busted in an operation conducted by the Intelligence Fusion & Strategic Operations (IFSO) wing of the Delhi Police. 

Two people, Ravi Arora and Dinesh Sharma, were picked up in connection with the case after raids were conducted at multiple places in Himachal Pradesh and Delhi. 

Speaking to media personnel, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) for cyber cell, KPS Malhotra, said that the operation was initiated on a complaint alleging fraud by one such fake portal.

The complainant had bought an air conditioner (AC) online from one such website and paid an amount of INR 28,472 via digital wallet. When the AC was not delivered, he tried contacting the seller but could not reach the latter. He finally approached the police and filed a complaint.

The Delhi Police constituted a special team to probe the case and technical analysis along with financial trail analysis was done by the team. On the basis of it, raids were conducted and the two persons were arrested.

During the bust, 13 mobile phones, three laptops, and 10 debit cards were seized from the accused. 

Describing the modus operandi of the accused, Malhotra said that the duo created a host of websites to cheat gullible clients and then optimised their websites to ensure they show on top of search results.

He added that household and electrical items were listed on these fake websites at cheaper prices compared to other ecommerce platforms. Once the item was booked and payment made, the articles were never delivered to the customers.

The crackdown comes at a time when the Delhi High Court is reportedly hearing a clutch of petitions by brands such as Amazon, Mother Dairy, and Himalaya seeking legal action against such online frauds. 

Recently, the HC also directed IFSO to probe the frauds and directed the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) to hold meetings with officials of IFSO on the cases.

The union government recently informed the Rajya Sabha that the amount involved in online frauds in the country stood at INR 128 Cr in the financial year 2021-22 (FY22). Besides this, 16,450 cases were registered between 2018 and 2020 for frauds related to ATMs, credit cards, debit cards, online banking and OTP.

Meanwhile, the government is currently working on its ambitious Digital India Act (DIA) which is likely to be introduced during the Winter Session of the Parliament this year. It will reportedly cover areas such as cybersecurity, cyber incidents, among others. 

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